The Angels were blanked on three hits in the final six innings of a 10-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies in Coors Field on Tuesday night.
Their arms were probably tired from all the heavy lifting they did in the first three innings, when they pounded Chad Bettis for 10 runs and eight hits, including four home runs, in a continuation of their 33-run, 47-hit weekend barrage in Texas.
Albert Pujols hit his American League-leading 26th homer, a three-run shot to left-center field, in the first, and Mike Trout keyed a five-run second with a three-run homer to left, his 22nd.
Matt Joyce and Chris Iannetta, who are both hitting below .200, also homered, Joyce driving a solo shot to center in the second and Iannetta a two-run shot to center in the third. The Angels won for the eighth time in nine games and moved to within 21/2 games of Houston in the AL West.
"It's unbelievable," Trout said of the uprising. "The first month or two of the season, we were just trying to scratch some wins across. Now, our offense is coming together and we're pitching well. One through nine, everyone is hitting. It's fun to be a part of it."
The surge for a team that averaged 3.8 runs a game before arriving in Texas last week is not only surprising but historic, the Angels becoming the first team in 76 years to score 10 earned runs off a starting pitcher in back-to-back road games. The last to accomplish the feat? The New York Yankees on Aug. 9-10, 1939.
Before this trip, the Angels had 71 multiple-run innings in 79 games. In four games on the trip, they have 11 multiple-run innings.
"I don't know if you expect your offense to max out every time like we have the last four games," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "But early runs are important, and you see how it affects every aspect of our game, from pitchers bringing all their stuff into a game to not worrying about one mistake costing them. It's great to see. Hopefully we're going to keep it rolling."
It was fitting that Pujols kicked off Tuesday night's power play. He confirmed before the game that in addition to starting at first base for the AL in Tuesday night's All-Star game in Cincinnati, he will participate in Monday's home run derby.
"I enjoy it," said Pujols, a 10-time All-Star who did the derby in 2003, 2007 and 2009. "I take it like regular batting practice . . . except you have 50,000 people watching, a lot of cameras around. It's like teeing off at a PGA tournament, when you have so many people on top of you."
Trout remained undecided on the event, but one person familiar with his thinking said he is "leaning against" participating.
"I'm still thinking about it," Trout said. "I've talked to some people about it. Everyone wants me to do it. I haven't decided yet. I'll probably know by [Wednesday]."
It wasn't a tough decision for Pujols, who is looking forward to having his 14-year-old son, A.J., an 6-year-old son, Ezra, on the field with him.
"The whole reason to do it is because the kids asked me to, and hopefully I can put on a good show for the fans," Pujols said. "A.J. is pumped up because he's going to be on the field. He enjoys being around the guys. It will be a good experience for my 6-year-old, too."
Some players fear the derby will negatively affect their swing, but Pujols, who has never won the derby, has no such concerns.
He won the batting title in 2003 with a .359 average to go with 43 homers and 124 runs batted in. He hit .327 with 32 homers and 103 RBIs in 2007 and he won National League most-valuable-player honors in 2009, when he hit .327 with 47 homers and 135 RBIs.
"I don't believe the derby is going to ruin your swing," Pujols said. "It's just whether you feel comfortable doing it. A lot of guys have a problem doing it. I enjoy it."